Publication and impact

Publications and Impact

"A research impact is a recorded or otherwise auditable occasion of influence from academic research on another actor or organization.

 a. Academic impacts from research are influences upon actors in academia or universities e.g. as measured by citations in other academic authors’ work.

b. External impacts are influences on actors outside higher education, that is, in business, government or civil society e.g. as measured by references in the trade press or in government documents, or by coverage in mass media."

LSE Public Policy Group (2012) Maximising the impacts of your research: a handbook for Social Scientists

All researchers are expected to publish the outcomes of their research at some stage in the research process. Promotion, grading, employment and funding can be influenced by “points for publications”. There are various measures of the impact of an individual publication or of a journal. The usefulness of these has been debated, but they are all commonly referenced.

Journal Impact Factors

The Impact Factor (IF) for a journal is calculated using data from the Web of Science database -  Journal Citation Reports.   The higher the impact factor the better and the more influential the journal can be considered. As a benchmark, a journal impact factor of 1.0 means that on average, articles published in that journal one or two years ago have been cited once.


The h-index is a measure of the impact of an individual’s publishing, based on a list of publications ranked in descending order by the Times Cited. The value of h is equal to the number of papers (N) in the list that have N or more citations.  It is meaningful when compared to others within the same discipline area. Researchers in one field may have very different h-indices than researchers in another.

Useful Resources

MyRI: Measuring your Research Impact is an open access toolkit, providing an overview to bibliometrics; how journal impact factors are measured; and how to track research impacts at individual, departmental, institutional and country level.